At Tot Tank Alameda, parents will find all the gear they need for a baby. From bibs and burp cloths to strollers and car seats, parents are welcome to handle, measure, and try out before making a purchase.
I arrived at Tot Tank, an independently-owned shop dedicated to all things baby, on a very rainy Thursday afternoon with my three young children in tow. Now, it’s very common for store owners to look displeased, sometimes even terrified, as my five-, three-, and one-year-olds descend on their places of business. But Jay Fong, an owner at Tot Tank, was loading crib mattresses in the back of the store, and he greeted us warmly; my brood did not frighten him.
Fong, who opened the Tot Tank store in 2009 after being laid off during a paternity leave, has plenty of experience. He’s got three kids of his own.
Tot Tank is the go-to store in Alameda for strollers and car seats
As a mom, I appreciate that Tot Tank makes buying technical items easier, with a deep selection of strollers and car seats. Jay himself is often on hand to answer questions and make recommendations. There’s no risk of unpacking a cumbersome baby item, only to discover it doesn’t work for your house, car, or family. Repacking that mess, printing out a return label, and shipping it? (Real talk: e-commerce mistakes suck.)
Free car seat safety checks at TotTank in Alameda
Known far beyond Alameda for their good service, Tot Tank’s staff double as certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. Customers drive in from as far as Grass Valley for car seat fittings. Safety Technicians help you pick the right size and fit; show you how your child should be buckled; and, install the car seat in your vehicle, all on the house. With 80% of parents in the US installing their car seats incorrectly, free car seat checks are an insanely useful service. You can call the store or email them to set up an appointment. Can’t beat that price!
Tot Tank carries the cute stuff, too
The baby clothing section is full of temptations for gift-givers, featuring high-quality brands like Tea Collection. Additional shelves are filled with a variety of puzzles, Play-doh and all types of toys.
Building community at Tot Tank
Other thoughtful amenities at Tot Tank keep parents coming back. An activity table and a toy box occupy kids at the checkout line. A changing table is equipped with a stash of diapers for those in a pinch.
The store has a loaner car seat, in case a customer needs it for emergency reasons. Touches like that give this store a community vibe. There's even a circle of nursing chairs in the back of the store for feeding sessions and meetups. New moms have gathered here on Tuesdays from 10:30-12 for the past nine years.
As a parent of three young kids, I often shop online as an act of defeat. I know my kids will be cray cray in the store, and I will feel embarrassed; it’s just more effort than it’s worth. Tot Tank is a shopping experience designed for us. From the diaper set up to all the space for kids to play, I feel invited to come inside with my posse in tow.
Plan your visit to Tot Tank in Alameda
Tot Tank is located at 1413 Park Street in Alameda.
[All photos from Tot Tank and used with permission]